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The Sky's the Limit

The Sky's the Limit

[ October 16, 2009 - 4:44pm ]
The Transitions Premiere, Red Bull HQ
Transitions, a movie by Riley Poor about Simon Dumont and Tanner Hall, screens at Red Bull Headquarters in Santa Monica. We were there to check out the party: DJs, girls in shiny dresses, and Red Bull vodka cocktails.

The Red Bull headquarters are easy to find, just east of the Pacific Ocean but not quite Hollywood. There are no VIP valets, no paparazzi, no red carpets. Outside, a DJ spins reggae and dancehall beats from a pimped-out Red Bull truck. Tonight, October 15, Transitions, a film by Riley Poor about Red Bull athletes Simon Dumont and Tanner Hall is premiering tonight at Red Bull HQ.

Inside, there’s a gathering of young skiers and socialites, middle-aged journalists, PR flacks, and agents. Simon Dumont stands in the middle of the room, dressed in a tuxedo and ballcap. There are a few photographers, cameras dangling from their necks like Japanese tourists. A girl in funky silver high tops, a shiny dress, and turquoise headphones DJs from a mirrored Red Bull turntable station, spinning a wide range of beats.

Dumont takes off his jacket and butterflies around the party, hopping from interview to greeting. The DJ announces that the movie will begin shortly. Partygoers head to the bar to get their next round of Red Bull vodkas. Inside the theater, the lights dim.

Luke Van Valin takes the stage and introduces “The man, the myth, the legend, Simon Dumont.” Dumont explains to the audience why Riley Poor, the movie’s cinematographer who suffered a spinal cord injury last year, isn’t in attendance. “This is what we’ve been working on for two years,” Dumont says. “Freeskiing doesn’t really have an identity, and it’s been around for, I’d say, 20 years, and a lot of people are forgetting about the pioneers, like J.F. Cusson and J.P. Auclair, and where the roots are in skiing. This is a movie you can show your parents when they ask what the hell you are doing out there. If there’s any question about freeskiing or where it came from, this will hopefully clear up some of those queries.”

And then, a little crusty New Englander comes out, reminding us of Dumont’s Bethel, Maine, roots. “Hope you guys enjoy it, and if you don’t, I don’t really care for you that much,” he says.

Transitions starts strong with some classic late 1980s and early 1990s mogul footage and narrative from Mike Douglas, the godfather of freesking, about how the sport has evolved from the days of Olympic freestyle moguls and aerials. Then the focus switches to Tanner Hall and Simon Dumont, relying heavily on X Games footage and interviews.

“Tanner plus Simon equals skiing,” Hall says during the middle of the movie. My take? Transitions effectively describes the early evolution of freeskiing, but it gets a little too caught up in the lives of Dumont and Hall. A little less than an hour later, the movie ends with Hall saying how he and Dumont would be passing the torch on to the younger generations, and for them, the sky is the limit. Transitions is worth checking out, even if it’s just to see a teenage Dumont hucking his meat in the park and casing it, many times, on the deck of the pipe.  —Caroline Gleich

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